Carbon Engineering : Solution for Global Warming ?

Coal
Hot coals in a wood burning stove.

 

Global Warming – Climate Change, something that comes into highlight whenever some environmental report comes out. But, what are we doing about it ? Is there a way to stop it?

Okay, what causes global warming ? Green House gases ? 

What is Green House Gas?

Gases that traps the heat in the atmosphere is called greenhouse gases. Without green house gases, our earth would have not be able to sustain life. The average temperature on the surface of the earth would be -18 degree C, too cold to hold any surface water. The main green house gases in our atmosphere are Carbon-di-oxide, Methane, Ozone, Nitrous Oxide. 

With rise in industrialisation, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing, and with deforestation, the capability our of Mother Earth to absorb carbon di oxide has been reducing.

Check out our post about the effects of global warming on a remote country called Tuvalu.

So, would afforestation help? Yes. Afforestation plays a major role in reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. But, considering the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, afforestation might not be the only solution to global warming.

Source:Gettyimages

What if there is way by which we can suck out all the Carbon di oxide from our atmosphere ? Seems like Science fiction ? Maybe not.

Behold. Carbon Engineering

Carbon Engineering is not a technology. CO2 is absorbed from the air through a method called “Direct Air Capture”. Though the technology is in its initial stages of development, the idea behind Direct Air Capture is simple. Ambient air is made in contact with a chemical media typically an alkaline solvent. The chemical media removes CO2 from air though application of heat. The extracted CO2 is then used for various applications like enhanced oil recovery or for production of “carbon neutral” fuel.

The major issue with this techniques is the cost of operation until recently, direct air capture costs more than $600 to suck a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere. Recently, a company called “Carbon Engineering” backed by Bill Gates has published a technique on which it claims that it can reduce the price to as low as $60 per ton.

Carbon Engineering and Oil Companies

Carbon Engineering is planning to build world’s largest Carbon sucking plant. But the carbon extracted from air would then be injected in oil wells owned by “Oxy”, an American oil company which is also a share holder in Carbon Engineering.

As mentioned above, one of the applications of Direct Air Capture is production of “carbon neutral” fuels. When the amount of CO2 generated in the atmosphere through produced fuel is equal to the amount of CO2 sucked through DAC, then the fuel is carbon neutral.

Source: Gettyimages

There has been a lot of traction for electric cars recently. Tesla has been making headlines for producing sexy electric cars that has the capability to compete against petrol cars. Oil companies are looking for ways to promote the use of non-renewable energy without affecting our environment. Carbon Neutral fuel gives them the opportunity to do so.

Criticism against DAC is the involvement of oil companies to use the technology for their own needs. Environmentalists claims that DAC indirectly promotes the use of non-renewable form of energy. So, this raises a question. Is it fair to use fossil fuels if it do not cause an increase in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? Would DAC be able to actually decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? Would it be able to solve global warming ? What about other gases like methane ? Does it contribute to global warming ?

More posts are up to come regarding the role of Methane in creating global warming. Until then, subscribe to our page to informed about upcoming posts. Comment your views about “Direct Air Capture” and Carbon Engineering below.

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